Georgia dairy farmers, DFA & Kroger give milk to COVID-19 heroes
By Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau
Heroes are strong and selflessly help others. These are traits healthcare workers, first responders and dairy farmers share.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, health care workers and first responders have been courageously caring for the sick and keeping Georgia residents safe.
Meanwhile, Georgia’s 130 dairy farmers continue caring for their cows and producing delicious, healthy milk for consumers despite daunting circumstances. The pandemic disrupted the U.S. dairy supply by reducing demand for dairy products as restaurants and other food service sectors were shuttered from mid-March to late April.
Reduced demand made it necessary for Georgia farmers to dispose of 100 tanker loads of milk through the end of April with a total value of about $1 million, according to Georgia Milk Producers Inc.
Rather than see milk needlessly go to waste, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) - a farmer-owned co-op through which most Georgia dairy producers market their milk - Kroger Atlanta Division and the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Milk (ACCM) teamed up to deliver a total of 24,000 half-gallons of Georgia milk to healthcare workers and first responders statewide.
“Our Georgia dairy farmers are on the front lines producing milk and dairy foods. In parallel they appreciate the work being done by our healthcare and first responders and want to give back,” said Paul Johnson, a Georgia dairy farmer and Georgia ACCM board chairman. “We appreciate our partners DFA and Kroger for making this contribution possible and extend a thank you to Nicole Duvall with the Georgia Mobile Classroom for delivering the donations on dairy farmers’ behalf.”
The four-week philanthropic campaign was appropriately named the Great Georgia Give. DFA, Kroger Atlanta Division and Kroger’s Centennial Farms donated the milk and the ACCM delivered the milk to recipients in Atlanta on April 24, Macon on May 1, Augusta on May 8 and Savannah on May 15.
“Now more than ever, preventing waste in the food chain is crucial,” said Kroger Atlanta Division President Tim Brown. “The Great Georgia Give aligns with Kroger’s Zero Hunger|Zero Waste social impact plan to end hunger and eliminate waste in our communities by connecting a great product with great heroes. Milk is one of Georgia’s most important agricultural commodities and the Great Georgia Give is ensuring that it is nourishing those who need it.”